what is the best commercial smoker

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Joined Jul 11, 2008
looking for the best or most recommended smoker unit .... is a Cookshack unit quality stuff. need second opinion.!!
thanks
 
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Which Cookshack unit? What's your budget? What are your size requirements? How many pounds of which meats will you be smoking per day? What's your ideal fuel choice -- electricity, gas or wood?

Cookshack is good, but not the class of the field. Southern Pride, Ole Hickory and Holstein are probably better.

BDL
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Did have a chance to use an Alto-shaam unit with a smoker, musta done about a tonne of ribs in the time I was at that place with that smoker.

In any case it's worth checking out, besides the Alto-shaam is a pretty versatile piece of equipment, and can use it for many other things as well as smoking
 
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Not that this site isn't great for information, but you may want to check out the bbqforum.com. I read that page for years when I was learning to BBQ, and I'm sure you will get all the info you are looking for there.
 
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I agree with BDL what exactly are you looking to cook and with what fuel? I love my Klose but in a restaurant setting feeding the fire every 1/2 hour might be to much. The gas fired with wood like the Ole Hickory/Southern Pride are used in many commercial settings. The FE series by Cookshack are good for a pellet unit but how much food are you going to need to cook at once?
 
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I know a guy who ran a restaurant (Canyon City Barbeque in Azusa) off a big Klose until he could get his Southern Pride delivered and installed. He was a big deal on the KCBS circuit, Memphis in May, RibberFest, all those sorts of comps, plus some serious BBQ catering (or at least as serious as it gets in SoCal) and believe me -- he couldn't wait to switch. Heck, you might as wel go "open pit."

FWIW, the FE (Fast Eddy) and FEC series are pure wood burning -- and to my mind more comp and catering than purely restaurant. I know some people who did very well with (what I think was) an old 100 series Cookshack in a BBQ/soulfood operation (KC BBQ in Venice, CA) for years. But it was a fairly low volume operation.

Yes to the suggestion about looking in on the various BBQ forums and asking around there.

The more I think about the Cookshack, the more I think I'd rather have a rotisserie or convection cooker for any kind of serious BBQ operation. They're a lot more forgiving. Pure cabinet style pits are not perfect. They all have air flow issues -- the more heavily loaded the bigger the issues. This means either rotating the product or improvising cook times on the fly to adjust for load. Convection fans go a long way to solving the problem, but perhaps not as well as rotisserie racks.

If you're thinking of a somewhat portable unit, you might want to contact Backwoods Smokers. They're incredibly good units -- and are blowing away the Cookshacks on the comp circuit.

On the other hand, Cookshacks are really good for holding low, fish-smoking temps. If that's part of what you're thinking of doing, it could be the deal closer.

Lots to think about,
BDL
 
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I've use the shaam smoker in a few restaurants for both hot and cold items. It cooks to exact temps and infuses great smoke.
 
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Hi im opening a restaurant in Mexico City that is turning to a BBQ restaurant, our menu will mainly consist of beef brisket, pulled pork, beef ribs, baby back ribs and chicken the capacity of our restaurant is 150 pax per seating with an average of 350 pax on a high day and 200 pax on a low day I was thinking of getting one of the bigger southern pride rotisserie units but upon reading different threads have found out im better of with 2 smaller ovens with a cook - hold option in order to offset cook times. what unit(s) would you recommend taking into consideration that wood pellets are not the easiest thing to come by around this parts. 

Thanks  
 
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What makes SP, Ole Hickery and Holstein better. What do they have that Cookshack doesn't?
 
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SP, Ole Hickory to me produced a smokier product with a better smoke ring. The others with closed cabinets seemed to somewhat steam the meat.
 
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open burning develops a smoke ring but that is just nitrogen and you cant taste that and it has nothing to do with smoke penetration. Quickcure gives the same effect.

I would recommend asking your dealer to have someone demonstrate and cook in each oven to see what is easiest to cook in and which makes the best tasting meat with most yield.
 
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When I judge bbq, we are told to disregard smoke rings in the score since they can be faked. However, in a restaurant, customers will look for it.
 
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How do you fake a smoke ring? Quick pink salt cure or what?


Secondary, anyway, in my opinion. Good bark and juicy meat is where it is at. Smoked pork shoulder here I made last month.
 
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Brine using a curing solution like Morton Tender Quick.  Anything with nitrites or nitrates will fake the nitrogen put out by burning wood.  Be careful or the meat will taste and feel cured.  I agree that it has little effect on taste whether the smoke ring is there or not,  but the general public going to restaurants will look for it, because some guy on the Food Network mentioned it.
 
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Joined Oct 3, 2015
Cookshack have a very nasty reputation for starting on fire in the middle of the night, SP is much more costly but produce a great product and you still have a restaurant to go to in the morning.
 
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